Photo by Flickr User SuperBoreen
Yesterday, we outlined the first steps in Affecting SEO. This is Part 2 of our series, 6 Ways to Affect SEO! Read on for more valuable tips and tricks:
4. Page content
Google also looks at the content of your pages. On your homepage, it’s important to use your keywords. Obviously this needs to be very relevant and clear as it’s the first thing that viewers see when they come to your site.
Your homepage is the most important page to your client because it sets the tone for the rest of your site. So, while you want to support good SEO, this is still going to be a new client’s first impression of you.
Google loves fresh content, and doesn’t like stale sites. It lets Google (and your clients) know that you’re alive and active. This is why blogs rate better over static sites. However, this can be helped a bit on non-blog sites by changing the content on a static site periodically. But the best way of getting good rankings is by posting new, fresh content on your site as often as possible.
A few tips: Google tends to look at the first part of your page’s content rather than farther down, so be sure you have those keywords up front. They don’t like you hiding text, so don’t make the text the same color as the background. And don’t spam keywords, Google hates that!
If your site is flash-based, you may have problems, as there is no text for Google to see. You’ll either need an HTML mirror of your flash site, or better yet, don’t use flash. Go for HTML 5 instead. Showit sites are incredible doing for this automatically.
5. Linking domains
The more links you have to your site, the more authority your site has. In Google’s mind, the more sites linking to your site increases your credibility. For example, if only two people link to your site, Google sees that you’re not very popular. If you have a hundred or a thousand different sites linking to your site, then Google sees the importance of your site, and so you get ranked higher.
Also, if you have authoritative sites linking to your site, that makes your site even more authoritative. For example, if you have a brand new website linking to you (their authority would be very low), it wouldn’t do you nearly as much good as if a site such as The Knot linked to you. The Knot is an established and authoritative site, so if Google sees that they link to you, that gives your site more credibility than a new site that has very little credibility.
To see how many linking domains you have, there’s a site called Open Site Explorer. The total number of linking domains is shown as “Linking Root Domains.” If you click on the Linking Domains tab, it will show you everyone who is linking to your site and the authority of those sites. The more you have and the higher your authority, the better ranking you’ll get.
Another thing to look at is Total Links. Total number of domains is important, but number of links increases your authority too. The more links you have from a particular domain, the better, but getting more domains to link to you is better by far.
A note about “Nofollow links.” Some sites, especially blogs where you can leave your link in the comments, are Nofollow, which don’t boost your site’s credibility. The best links are organic in an article or normal links from other people’s sites. Avoid “link farms” where you’re one of a hundred links on a page – Google doesn’t like those. Don’t pay to get links, and don’t go for gimmicks of getting tons of traffic or links to your site! Building good links to your site takes time and effort.
5b. Anchor Text
Google also looks at the Anchor Text of a link. This is the text that you click on instead of seeing the hyperlink. So rather than seeing www.joelandamberphotography.com, you see the anchor text: Huntsville Wedding Photographers. The link is still there, but Google can now have some description of your website. Good anchor text contains your ideal keywords – whether it’s your name or your business, or your target market. Good anchor text gives Google a huge hint that your site is actually what you say it’s about!
6. Social Media
Getting your site mentioned in various Social Media circles also increases the short term authority of your site. Getting mentions from social media is simply linking to your site (whether it’s your blog, a particular picture, or a particular page) from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels.
Similar to linking domains, getting many different people to link to your site is valuable. Spamming your own website on your own Facebook page won’t do much good. Again, the way Google thinks is that if many people are mentioning your site on Facebook or Twitter, your site must be valuable in some way, so they boost your rating.
There is, however, a slight difference between Facebook and Twitter mentions and site links. Think of it this way: social media gives you short term credibility; linking domains give you long term credibility.
The thing with social media is that it’s relatively short lived. So Google interprets any links you get as a short lived boost. This is good for getting your new, fresh content to the front of a Google search (especially when it comes to blogging), but it won’t keep you in front forever.
On the other hand, a website or a blog that links to you is around a lot longer than a mention on social media, so Google interprets it as longer term credibility. Both help you achieve better ranking on Google, but social media gets you there quickly, whereas linking domains help keep you there for the long term.
There are a lot of nuances to SEO, more than I could ever get into in one article, but this will at least get you started in the right direction.
So once you’ve set up your URL, your page title, and your page description, and initial page content, now what?
The real work is in creating fresh content. People usually won’t re-visit a site unless there’s something new. Creating fresh content gives other sites a reason to link to you and a reason to mention you in social media. And since Google loves fresh content, it’s a win-win.
About the Authors
Joel and Amber are a Huntsville, Alabama based wedding photography team that loves working together to create images that not only bring back memories of each wedding, but also show the love surrounding each moment. Joel’s technical knowledge complements Amber’s creative eye for details and beauty in each wedding they shoot. Joel loves to discuss photography, create delicious cappuccinos for Amber, and play the piano for church. Amber loves to read and play the violin and is also a chocolatier at a local chocolate store.